Post release now we’re not doing much promotion ourselves, but FSH is still getting healthy (in terms of casual niche on Steam) wishlist additions. Daily average wishlist additions over the last 2 weeks is 36. Daily average over last month is 130. Daily average sales post release are less than half of what I was optimistically hoping for, but still not bad.
I’ve not been able to update the Android build on Google Play since first version because of other work distractions, there are still some crashing issues we need to solve. I’m clear to share sales data there so I will over time! It’s sold 5 copies in ~10 days but I’ve only posted about it in a single place and for the most part it’s not easy to find, it’s not actually officially released. So not bad. Currently my brother and I still want to give premium with it a shot.
My brother is working on another game - another port project (FSR) to Defold from another engine. It has all assets done, it’s just some code left to translate and things to polish / do it the Defold way like the particles. Probably will be done later this month then it will get its own thread.
I’m working on extra post release content for FSH and will for 2 more weeks before releasing something new for FSH. The content is mostly to fill the content gaps players who already finished the game felt were missing.
More stats I can share
We have several players above 100 hours played so maybe Steam removes some outliers for the data.
One of the things the next update has is Lore Cards. These are items found by players while playing the game. They convey lore about the world, items, characters, and several have mini stories. The lore text will sadly be very expensive to translate and I’m hoping our fans will be enthusiastic about donating translations for it since at the moment there are not enough sales to pay for translating it all into every language and most non-English language regions only have a few sales so it’s difficult to justify paying for more than the bigger ones. Here’s an example of a lore card’s text (wip still, has yet to be touched by editor so don’t worry about text issues).
I sent samples to Defold team and can get them more if needed. It is super nice Defold team is so responsive with issues like this! Rarely does any other tool team work like this so it cannot be understated how grateful I am and how much they should be praised.
Are there any other Android app stores worth putting games on?
Recently I’ve been trying to get in touch with various mobile / casual review sites and basically every single one replied with a paid promotional package offer… it sucks that this is the new normal and acceptable to openly present conflicts of interest like this. I asked on reddit and the consensus seems to be don’t bother with these sites at all and instead build awareness in other ways (which we have been doing but there’s for sure more I’ll try in the future).
The outstanding wishlist balance for FSH on Steam is 5,038. Lots of people waiting for a deeper discount is normal.
Update on itch.io downloads / sales data. People cannot download the ios/win versions without paying $9.99 which explains why they are 0 but it’s still interesting that none of the people who paid downloaded them. We gave the Linux version free on itch.io
Here are the total Mac / Linux sales on Steam, rest are Windows, but I can’t share that data still. It is nice that there are some sales for these platforms but Windows still is the lion’s share. Thankfully Defold makes it super easy to support Mac and Linux it amounts to just a few minutes extra on build times. My release process is -> make bundles with a script -> upload all depots with another script -> test beta update on Steam -> promote to live if all is well. It takes about an hour in total to make a release for Win/Mac/Linux.
Here is lifetime data of FSH on Google Play while it was in the (Early Access) unreleased state. With the next update it is being promoted to live, I don’t know if that will change anything with the sales though. Even if this might make less than a F2p/IAP version this is still the road we are taking for this game. My plan is to make one of our next games (FSR) free and use it to promote FSH, see if that helps.
Obviously if we were a big team this kind of data would be a disaster but at the moment Subsoap is down to just my brother and I working together and we have other ways of getting income so it’s OK.
Still not planning to buy ads anywhere or do big spends. The game is solid, really well polished, but I’m not confident about being able to reach people who would buy it through marketing. And like I said before most of the mobile review sites are traps for developers to waste their money. But I still have plans, long term plans to make it all worthwhile, that’s the way to be!
I’m preparing some builds for casual portals now (which I’m technically not allowed to name because of the contracts). One of the requirements is that it use DirectX.
32bit build worked without me needing to change anything at least ! I was only delivering 64bit to Steam but since it works I’ll begin to deliver 32bit too most likely as long as nothing breaks. Will be its own Steam depot and its own build/bundle step.
In the Library update something we tried to do is address people’s issues who left negative reviews on Steam while also making more content for the people who did like it. So far the result has been that none of the negative reviews have flipped to positive as far as I know, but several have updated. Most of the negative reviews also did originally mention they did not like the match2 mechanic and preferred the wheel up/down mechanic. So I think that is the fundamental issue still, and nothing we change in the game would flip those customer’s opinion on the game. So it’s a lesson to recognize issues like this and do what can be done to improve the game for people who would value the core mechanic. Other negative reviews are still useful for highlighting shortfalls, but improving on and reinforcing what people like who already value the product is a much better focus. Instead for those who prefer a different core mechanic they will be served with future products made more for them.
Finally FSH is live for real on Google Play! If it makes $100 a month on Google Play from now on it will be a “success” in terms of premium games on mobile. Yesterday I talked with someone who owned 4 super expensive mobile devices say that they just could not afford a $10 app. And even decent game reviewers who rail against IAP/ads refuse to review paid mobile apps because apps should be free. I still see a long term future worth going for in premium mobile but it will take a while to build up that trust.
It most likely took so long because of Google Play’s new policy where they put new apps into mandatory 3 day review periods, it also looks like currently you cannot schedule app releases anymore only schedule updates which is weird.
Yeah, that is just plain weird. What are the most common price tiers for mobile apps on the stores? And whereas the cut off point where people go from “it’s just a few bucks” to “man, that’s expensive”? I’m guessing there’s a lot of games in the 0.99 and 1.99 range. And the point where people start to think something is expensive is somewhere around 6 or 7 maybe?
The thing about mobile premium app prices is that it doesn’t really matter what price you set a game at there will always be people who say it costs too much. If it’s $2.99 it should be $0.99… if it’s $0.99 it should be free… we see the same thing on Steam where people say something that costs $29.99 should be $19.99, something $19.99 should be $9.99, and so on. How gamers value games is really weird like they could spend 100 hours in a game that cost $4.99 and say it’s not worth it wait until it’s on sale. All of this is mostly just worth understanding because it’s the way it is and it’s not going to change.
I picked $9.99 because it’s the same price as Steam and it’s also the same game. There’s no real reason to price it less other than the feeling mobile apps should be cheap by default just because it’s mobile.
I genuinely doubt the conversion rate between $9.99 or a lower price point would be that great because the main problem FSH will have on the app stores is discovery / reach / marketing. Another thing about price is if the price was lower we would need that many more sales to make the same amount of money, and I’d guess it’s easier to sell 1 game at $9.99 than 10 games at $0.99 when passive traffic is low anyway and people who go to it are probably as likely to buy as they ever would be.
Here’s a snapshot of top selling game apps on Google Play right now with Minecraft perpetually #1.
One of the requirements from portal is that the game pause all audio/music while minimized, but since we use FMOD for audio it runs on its own, and since the engine pauses on minimize before anything is possible to be done about those audio levels this audio will continue to play. Not sure what to do about this.
A sad thing about Google Play is that though you see sales live you also see refunds live. 2 sales have happened since making FSH live for real on Google Play that actually stayed purchased. The rest were refunded (didn’t like the game? copied apk then refunded? at least there are no pirate apks in the wild yet that I’m aware of - which itself is a blessing and a curse since piracy would probably be good marketing ) or payment was declined. It is what it is and I do not let it bother me but anyone else hoping to do premium on mobile should be aware of this reality.
On the Amazon App Store side there are no sales, but one review since Amazon lets you review things without owning them.
I talked with another mobile developer and he suggests we publish a “free” version. He has a few premium games that follow this model. I would have not considered it if there were not so many refunds happening, so maybe this kind of demo really is necessary. And there have been people who said they initially would not have given the chance (but I gave them a free key for user testing) and they ended up loving it so that may help this game. Here’s our plan for it.